A MARINE mammal observer (MMO) training programme has been announced for Kilrush.

ESB are to fund the programme which is open to graduates, final-year undergraduates and postgraduate students who are studying or working in the area of marine science or related disciplines.

The aim of the programme is to assist in developing marine ecology education and skills to support successful applicants at the early stages of their careers in the marine environmental profession.

Five places will be awarded by ESB on the MMO training programme, all applicants must be available to participate in person for training at Kilrush on November 4th and 5th with the deadline for application submissions on October 12th.

Industry-approved training courses and medicals will be funded to bring individuals up to the standard level of competency for offshore work. These courses include Basic Offshore Safety Induction and Emergency Training (BOSIET), United Kingdom’s Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) MMO training with Irish Guideline certifications, and Offshore Energies U.K (OEUK) approved medical and Fit-to-Train certifications.

The training programme is being endorsed by the Marine Mammal Observer Association, which will offer one-year complimentary affiliate membership to successful candidates and provide further advice and mentoring support for pursuing a career as an MMO. The programme is also being endorsed by the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMarEST), which will offer one-year complimentary associate membership and one-year access to its career development pathway.

MMO training will be provided by the Irish Whale & Dolphin Group and will include classroom-based training, two nights’ accommodation and a half-day at sea experience onboard the research vessel, Celtic Mist. IWDG will also offer one-year complimentary membership to programme participants.

Simon Berrow, Chief Executive Officer of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, said, “Over the last 30 years the IWDG has been at the forefront of whale and dolphin conservation in Irish waters. Now, with increasing pressures on our seas, especially the coastal zone, there is more demand than ever for trained and experienced marine mammal mitigation experts. The IWDG is delighted to be working in collaboration with the ESB to provide pathways to joining the offshore industry in an environmental capacity, to ensure the continued safeguarding of marine mammals in Irish waters”.

Ashleigh Kitchiner, Chair of the Marine Mammal Observer Association, commented: “MMOA believes that investing in developing emerging professionals is vital for the growth and sustainability of our industry. We are confident that this MMO Training Programme coupled with our endorsement and support will contribute to the success of each candidate”.

Gwynne Lewis, Chief Executive of the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science & Technology, added, “IMarEST is delighted to endorse this MMO Training Programme. As the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology, nurturing the next generation of marine professionals and ensuring their access to the resources, networks, and educational opportunities essential for their development is central to our work. It is vital that we inspire, encourage and support young people to want to have a rewarding career as marine professionals.”

Qualified MMOs are environmental professionals who specialise in monitoring marine megafauna species and ensure the implementation of mitigation requirements during various industry operations. Such roles will play an important part in the delivery of offshore wind projects over the coming decade. Ireland has a unique capability given its prime location to take advantage of the potential of offshore wind.

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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